How to help a friend who lost loved ones or is in self-isolation and forced to spend Christmas alone

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Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • The festive season is not always a time of cheer and laughter for everybody.
  • While some may look forward to seeing loved ones and being welcomed by the aroma of home-cooked food upon their landing, there are young adults who would much rather sit the whole holiday out or are just not able to make it home for Christmas.
  • There are a number of reasons for this, including loss, travel restrictions and being on self-isolation due to Covid.

As people grow older, they realise the tinsel that's been glittering all these years is, in fact, not gold.

Between body shaming comments, homophobic family members, questions about marriage, graduation, requests for money, or the busyness of trying to create the perfect Christmas, angst about going home is bound to heighten.

So it's understandable that for most, tears may end up being the order of the day.

On a more somber note, there is another trigger associated with not wanting to be home for Christmas, though - losing a loved one.

Overcoming grief may be harder during the festive season.

How you can help

This is where you, as a friend, can step in if one (or more) of your friends' is in a situation described above. 

Firstly, don't make it a pity party. Your role is to merely offer a feel-good outlet to them. Should they decline, respect their decision as well without taking it personally.

This is what you can offer:

  • You might also want to consider buying or making a thoughtful gift for your friend and drop it off at their doorstep if they really want to be alone or are in self-isolation. It will help them to feel less alone.
  • If your friend is in self isolation, it would be really welcome if you packed a meal for them from your Christmas feast and dropped it off for them, then call them via video and have a meal together. Do remember to check with your friend to make sure they are okay with this arrangement.
  • If you have the capacity, you can avail your table to friends and strangers alike. Of course, with the permission of your family, you can also invite your friend to share Christmas lunch with your family. If it makes them feel better so they don't like they're sponging off you, you can suggest that they also bring a dish. Remember to wear masks and be socially distanced.
  • If this is something either parties are not comfortable with, suggest to meet up after lunch for your own Christmas celebration. Who knows, it might even be the start of new traditions. 
  • Lastly, if you are part of a group that is stuck in a concrete jungle because you all have work commitments, then you're in good company. Plan an online  Christmas party with these mates as if they were your family. Have a Zoom call, drinks and snacks in hand, and chat away about fun topics.

Here's ho-ho-hoping this brings some joy to a friend or two.

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